Recently, neighbors on the mailing list have discussed the hours of local restaurants such as El Quetzal which close early, and whether they would gain more business with later hours. Jake London put a survey together to get some harder numbers about how people feel about this.
The survey discusses El Quetzal, Victrola, and Kusina Filipina, and asks whether later closing times would increase the likelihood that each survey taker would patronize these businesses in the evening hours.
The playground at Jefferson Park is open at last, and in the words of Joel Lee, “It was already mobbed by children tonight. For adults it’s a good vantage point to see the rest of the park and of course an amazing view of downtown.”
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It’s been all over the local news, but we thought we’d mention it too. Long-time Seattle institution Dick’s Drive-in is hosting a poll on their website, asking where they should build a new Dick’s—north of Seattle, South Seattle (as far south as SeaTac), or the Eastside? Now, we know that Beacon Hill itself wouldn’t be a good location for Dick’s. But we think that a new Dick’s location would fit perfectly into, say, Sodo. We would also like to point out that every single existing Dick’s location is already north of Downtown (though Broadway is only slightly north) and it’s time to give South Seattle some love—and some chocolate milkshakes. Currently we are in second place with 29%, and the north end is running away with the election. Go here to vote.
Just a quick announcement that as many of you know, Suzanne Sumi will be taking over Kids’ Dance, Sing & Play. The classes are weekly on Wednesdays, will begin at 9am and are one hour sessions.
The cost is still just $5 per class, but is per family, not per child. This class is big fun for toddler/pre-school aged children and you will just LOVE Suzanne. She’s wonderful! She has 26 years of early childhood education under her belt and will share stories, songs and more with you and your children.
Hope to see you with kids in tow some Wednesday soon!
We see also on their website that ROCKiT space is offering $5 Spanish language classes for both kids and adults, beginning Saturday, September 11. Find out more on the site.
ROCKiT space is at 3315 Beacon Avenue South. Please note that they will be closed from Sunday September 5 through Sunday September 12.
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Publicola and Seattle Transit Blog recently ran articles praising Beacon Bikes! and noting that the group has been awarded $15,000 to make biking safer in the neighborhood.
Elemental art is coming to the Hill on Saturday night, June 5, 6:00 pm to midnight, with the third installment of the home_page.project: NEPO 3: Air, Water, Fire (We Will Leave the Earth Behind). This is a one night art/performance event at NEPO house, 1723 South Lander Street. The event will include installations, music, visual art, and even fire juggling and “a cell phone launch to outer space”!
Participating artists include Lauren Atkinson, Lara Davis, David Lasky, Aaliyah Gupta, Lauren Klenow, Julia Haack, Mark Callen, Stefan Knorr, Serrah Russell, Gitane Versakos, Jason Hirata, Matt Hilger, Timothy Cross, Rumi Koshino, Klara Glosova, Emily Pothast, David Golightly, SP Weather Station (Natalie Campbell and Heidi Nielson), Eric Ostrowski, Janel Twogood, Matt Baker, Sebastian Shaw, Christopher McElroy, and Whiting Tennis.
Bethany UCC Church has been hosting a community film festival with discussion focusing on the topic of food justice, health and nutrition. Saturday, June 5, Fast Food Nation will be screened at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome, and the event is free, but donations are accepted. Childcare is available. Bethany UCC Church is located at 6230 Beacon Avenue South.
The next event in the series will be June 19, when scientist David Suzuki will discuss Cuba’s organic urban agriculture projects, with commentary from Tom Warner.
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New coffee shop The Station and neighborhood baker A Touch of Sweden are hosting a sampling event on Sunday, June 6 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Those who come by to give feedback on the pastries and sandwiches that The Station should carry will be eligible to win free coffee, a free pie or cake, or other goodies. Pastries will be available at a reduced price. (We recommend the cinnamon rolls. They are especially good.) The Station is located at 2533 16th Ave South.
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In other food and drink-related news on the hill, Inay’s Restaurant opened their new cocktail lounge last Friday. You can visit it at 2503 Beacon Avenue South.
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A decision came down last week in a land use application to allow Clearwire antennas to be added to a City Light transmission tower at 4999 P Beacon Avenue South. A Determination of Non-Significance with conditions was made, along with decisions to conditionally allow the antennas to be located in a single-family zone and exceed the underlying zoned height limit. For more information, see this DPD website.
The Station, a new coffee shop, opened yesterday at 2533 16th Avenue South, just across from El Centro de la Raza and just north of Beacon Hill Station. The opening was celebrated with barbecue and a live DJ. The shop is small but comfortable, and is currently displaying paintings by Vanessa K. Wilken on the walls. Along with coffee, tea, and chocolate, The Station will also be carrying pastries from A Touch of Sweden.
Michael Perrone sent us an email about the status of Art’s on Beacon Hill, the old grocery store site at 13th and Shelton which Michael owns (we’ve posted about it previously), and he gave us permission to post his message:
I am writing to let you know what’s up with Art’s.
The City of Seattle has re-instated my continuous use retail zoning and I will be working directly with them so that I can open my doors to the public. They have granted me the month of April to raise funds on this project and MIXED: FIRST PERSON is on display to the public Friday and Saturday nights through the month. I also received a phone call from a law student in Wisconsin, who for a class, is member of a law team representing Art’s vs. The City of Seattle. Interesting, huh? Thanks to those on your blog who forwarded my plight to the world. At least I know someone in Wisconsin gives a rat’s ass (LOL). I need to raise $25,000.00 to make this all happen. I do not have a lot of time, and if I cannot raise this money this site will be lost as a place of business. The City will not continue the use if I lose this property to foreclosure, due to the predatory loan I got into. I cannot express my Gratitude enough to Jeff Jones, my attorney and Lucas DeHererra DPD, who have both diligently found ways to work together to preserve my dream. Please post this as I need now more than ever to find a solution that will keep this community project going. This has pushed me into Chapter 13, and that light at the end of the tunnel seems far and distant… Thanks for listening, etc., and the opportunity to publicly announce this story; Art’s Gallery will be a grandfathered retail space by late summer 2010, and another neighborhood community based local business can be saved.
If you want to contact Michael, you can reach him at 206-861-6260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all of your recent and generous support, as we are working hard to provide a community center that supports and reflects the diversity and rich history of our Beacon Hill and Georgetown neighborhoods.
On Saturday March 27, 2010 between 5 and 7 p.m., you are invited to attend a special community meeting at ARTâ€™s to discuss upcoming events and options for further community involvement and support. All neighbors are invited so please spread the word!
As you know, we have been working closely with the City of Seattle to renew historic licensing allowing for the reinstatement of ARTâ€™s as the community corner where neighbors gather, share a cup of hot beverage, a tasty delight, and news of the day. It is our aim to continue this tradition and reopen the corner coffee shop as a community hub and center of creativity. To assist in this endeavor, ARTâ€™s has recently partnered with CULTURE FORUM, a non-profit Culture and Arts organization dedicated to artist and cultural exchange through community building.
ARTâ€™s current offering opens April 1 running through May 1, and is entitled MIXED: First Person and is a 42 minute multi-media stage play developed with the Evergreen State College, CULTURE FORUM, and of course ARTâ€™s.
We are very close to achieving our goals, but cannot do it without your input, involvement, and support. So please accept our invitation to attend this special meeting, and we hope to see you very soon at ARTâ€™s! If you have any questions, please feel free to give a call or just stop on by!
ARTâ€™s on Beacon Hill
4951 13th ave south 98108
Christian Ryser of CULTURE FORUM tells the Beacon Hill Blog that the city has agreed to reinstate the building’s original historic status and zoning, including retail and gallery use, and that they are allowing fundraisers to be held. The Mixed: First Person show is functioning as a fundraising effort for ART’s. He adds, “The bad news is that ART’s is suffering from the same banking malpractice as the rest of the world. Culture Forum has partnered with ART’s to provide artistic direction as well as an avenue for tax deductible donations. We are attempting to find a way to modify and or buy out the absurd loan on the building. ” They are working with an attorney from Beacon Hill in this effort.
The Beginner (Plus) classes begin Monday, April 5, and will continue on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm until June 9. The class fee is $300, which goes to support the programs at El Centro. If you have questions or want to enroll, call Enrique Gonzalez at (206) 957-4605 or email email@example.com. Registration deadline is March 31.
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We are told that on March 1020, the PLOP! Cabaret Performance Series will come to “an intimate house setting” somewhere on Beacon Hill, featuring poets Kate Lebo, A. K. “Mimi” Allin, and Jennifer Borges Foster. More info here.
“I am interested in putting together a small craft show in the Beacon Hill neighborhood this spring. I am posting to see if other crafters are interested in getting involved. I already have a venue (it’s a great place that I am super excited about!) and ideas for putting on the show. Please email me if you are interested in being a part of planning or if you would like to be a vendor at the event.”
Go to the Amazon WebStore Beta Invitation page. Look at the image in the lower right, featuring a retailer named “BH”. According to Techflash, “BH” stands for Beacon Hill; it’s a fake retailer that Amazon uses when they want to show off their new features without using a real company’s name. Amazon may be leaving the Hill soon, but perhaps they will keep a little bit of Beacon Hill with them for a while.
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The Filipino Community Center in the Rainier Valley is hosting a Community Forum on the 2010 Census on Thursday, March 11 at 6:00 pm. The forum will offer people the opportunity to ask questions and review the census forms. The Filipino Community Center is located at 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
Michael Perrone has a dream for an old grocery store near Maple Elementary School. In his dream, the old DeVos grocery store at 13th and Shelton, closed since 2005, would be a neighborhood gathering place, called Art’s on Beacon Hill. It would contain a coffeehouse with art on the walls, a jukebox, a player piano, and a performance studio. The building would be a resource and asset to neighbors in this mid-Beacon Hill neighborhood.
It hasn’t quite worked out as planned. Perrone painted, cleaned and decorated the old building, using vintage parts salvaged from the old grocery store in many places, and it looks just about ready to open. (In fact, an “Open” sign usually sits in the doorway.) But it remains officially closed, as it has since 2008 when the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) notified Perrone that he could not operate a “community theater” in part of the building.
The building’s history goes back a long way on Beacon Hill. Louis DeVos brought his family to the Hill in 1908, and in 1909, they moved into a house on South Shelton Street. A few years later, Louis bought the plot of land at 13th and Shelton and built a retail building there, first renting it to an Italian grocer, then establishing his own grocery business. The family business was successful, and eventually grew to include three stores including one at 2718 Beacon Avenue South (currently the location known as the empty “South China Restaurant” lot just south of Beacon Hill Station). Though two of the DeVos stores were closed during the Depression, the store at 13th and Shelton remained open into the 21st century, finally closing for good in August 2005. It was sold to Perrone as a “tear-down” in 2006.
Though the building had operated continuously as a commercial building since it was built in 1915, later in the 20th century the site was rezoned to SF5000 — single-family housing. Existing businesses such as the DeVos Grocery are allowed to continue in operation when their zoning changes, as a “non-conforming use.”
If the non-conforming use lapses for a certain amount of time, however, the building reverts to single-family, and a new business can’t go back to the non-conforming use. Seattle Municipal Code 23.42.104 B says: “A nonconforming use that has been discontinued for more than 12 consecutive months shall not be reestablished or recommenced.” There are certain exceptions, but it is unclear whether Perrone’s use of the DeVos building was what DPD required to maintain commercial status as required in the code. Perrone believes so; he did acquire a permit to install commercial-grade electrical service in the building, and he states that he also sold salvage from the building’s old contents to maintain commercial status until the coffeehouse could open.
In 2008, Perrone began using the building’s performance studio. In March of that year, the Beacon Hill Times/South District Journal (now South Seattle Beacon) ran an article about the plans for the former grocery, stating that it would be “a coffee shop, repertory theater and eventually an education center” and home to the Seattle Novyi Theatre repertory group.
In April of that year, a complaint was filed with DPD about his use of the building for theater rehearsals and performances. Perrone says that DPD declared the site in violation, and also told him that he could not legally live in the caretaker’s apartment and would be fined $1500/day for illegally residing there, retroactive to when he bought the building in 2006. “I owe the city a million and a half,” he says.
Later in 2008, says Perrone, he gave up, feeling pushed into a corner. In frustration, he told DPD “fine, turn it into a single-family residence.” Currently, an open application is on file with DPD to do so.
In the meantime, Perrone still fights to save the building for his original intended use, with pro bono help from a lawyer who grew up in the neighborhood. He has a petition signed by over 150 neighbors who support his plans for the DeVos building. “Only one neighbor said ‘no,'” he points out.
“My husband and I were so glad to see the building purchased, and Mikeâ€™s attempts to put something into this part of Beacon Hill that might help bring a ‘neighborhoody’ feel to the street. … Hereâ€™s a guy whoâ€™s trying to bring some energy and community building to our neighborhoodâ€¦ and getting stuck in red tape. Weâ€™d hate to see this building go back to being an empty space again. … Maybe someone in the neighborhood can help him cut through the red tape and get his project going! Something useful in this space would be so great for our street.”
With no way to legally open the coffeehouse, Perrone has been unable to pay the building’s mortgage since August. It is currently scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure sale on April 2, unless fate intervenes and Art’s on Beacon Hill can open.
It’s a busy day in North Beacon, where students from Beacon Hill International School are participating in a Read-a-Thon today. This event is to raise money for the PTA, which funds fourth-grade music, after-school sports, fifth-grade camp, and other activities at BHIS. Local coffee shops Victrola (former Galaxie) and Java Love are helping support the Read-a-Thon by hosting “Read Ins” at which students will read and play reading games. Victrola is today’s host, and you can stop by between 3:30 and 5:30 pm to support BHIS. Java Love will host their Read In on Saturday from 9:00 to 11:00 am.